Green Machines: Celebrate Earth Day with These Environmental Inventions

Help the planet!

April 20, 2017

Need some #EarthDay inspo? Use littleBits with your kids or students to teach them about the environment and the positive effects of sustainability.

Photography by Jeremy Goldberg

Check out these two helpful ideas for getting your Earth Day inventions off the ground.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This is the classic mantra of environmentalism, and we at littleBits love it when Bitsters practice the three R’s with their inventions. A good example of the first R – reducing – is reducing waste with littleBits like in the Magill Brothers’ Paper Towel Saver, which uses DC motors to slowly dispense sheets. This reduces the overuse of paper towels, a resource that generally isn’t recyclable.

When it comes to the second R, students at our Americana, Brazil chapter love reusing material to build epic inventions. Some examples are Arthur’s R2D2 made from Gatorade bottles, or Sofia and Ana Elisa’s Allegorical car made from juice cartons. Upcycling is a great way to get kids to think creatively and breathe new life into everyday objects.

For the third R, Bitsters have created inventions to help separate trash, compost, and recycle materials. Cutting down on waste and discovering ways to reuse objects or trash can help our planet and local communities.

Help Your Plant Friends

Have any pretty green plants in your home or classroom? Invent a device to help keep them pretty and green! A couple years ago, I used the Makey Makey and MP3 Bits to turn one of our office plants into Planty, the Positive Reinforcement Plant. By using the conductive magic of the Makey Makey Bit, you can trigger Planty to say thank you when you water it. Psychological studies show that positive reinforcement makes it more likely for a behavior to become a habit, so making your plant appreciative will turn watering it from a chore into a fun activity.

Another way we’ve seen Bitsters invent for a plant was the E-Flower, a smart plant by students at devincifablab. This cloud-connected invention combines the Arduino Bit, the cloudBit, DC Motors and LEGO to make a vehicle that follows sunlight. This allows their plant to never be without the sunlight it needs to grow!


Arjun Srivatsa
Content Producer